The Holiday of Vaisakhi
Usually an Amrit initiation ceremony, is held. It may take place any time of day that is most convenient. It could begin several hours before dawn, or be held during an all night program which goes on until sunrise.
- Anyone who wishes to be baptized must present themselves to five Sikhs who are the representatives of the original panj pyara. The ceremony takes several hours to complete. The panj pyara prepare the Amrit by stirring sugar into a bowl of water as they recite certain prayers. They administer the Amrit to initiates in a particular manner. Initiates promise not to cut their hair, and to wear the five articles of faith. They agree to follow the tenets of the Sikh faith.
- A worship program may start off the day at the Gurdwara early in the morning. The worshipers sing popular hymns which commemorate Guru Gobind Singh and focus on drinking Amrit:
"Har sachay takat rachaa-iaa sat sangat mayla||
God has created a true throne where the worshipers gather.
Nanak nirbho nirna kaar vich sidhaa khalaa||
God is without form without fear, all are players in his power.
Gur simar manaa-ee kanday kee vaylaa||
Remembering who controls birth and death brings God close, it is time to take up the sword.
Peevo paol khanday dhar hoay janm suhaylaa||
Drink Amrit to experience rebirth.
Gur sangat keenee khalsa manmukhee duhaylaa||
The pure ones belong to God’s congregation, the worldly ones far away.
Waaho waaho Gobind Singh aapay gur chaylaa||
Hail, hail, Gobind Singh, he is master and disciple." Bhai Gurdaas 41||1
In many locations, worshipers meet for a procession. Sikhs carry the Guru Granth out from the Gurdwara and ceremoniously place the scripture atop a float garlanded with flowers and other decorations.
- The five beloved representatives walk at the head of the parade dressed in saffron robes. They carry swords, and sometimes the Sikh flag or Nishan, which is embellished with the Sikh coat of arms.
- The first float carries the scripture and several attendants.
- Sikh devotees follow on foot, or ride on floats, while singing hymns and playing recordings on loud speakers.
- Performers demonstrate the fighting method of the Sikh martial art, Gatka, with wooden sticks or swords.
- Spectators hand out drinks and snacks in a festive spirit.
Late afternoon:The procession concludes upon returning to the Gurdwara. The Guru Granth is ceremoniously carried back inside the Gurdwara. Worship services continue until the close of the day.
- Many worshipers volunteer to prepare meals in the Guru’s free kitchen. Food is available to all worshipers throughout the entire day.